Sports Envoys Visit Turkmenistan for Blind Judo Program

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 26, 2014

Paralympic 2012 judo bronze medalist Dartanyon Crockett and Paralympic judo coach Heidi Moore are visiting Turkmenistan March 24-29 on as a part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Envoy Program. Crockett’s visit marks the first time that a blind athlete represents the State Department as a Sports Envoy. This visit underscores the United States’ commitment to equality, inclusion, and disability rights around the world.

In Turkmenistan, Crockett and Moore will travel to Ashgabat, Mary, and Turkmenabat to conduct judo clinics for youth and coaches. Their program is an extension of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Lives Without Limits initiative, which promotes inclusion and equality for persons with disabilities. Crockett and Moore will meet with disability sport administrators and Paralympic officials to discuss how to reach goals and build skills in youth through sports. Throughout the program, the Sports Envoys will focus on building confidence in blind youth in a country that is looking to increase access to sports for people with disabilities.

Ohio native Crockett is an accomplished judoist and winner of the bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Born with Leber optic atrophy, a degenerative disease that causes acute vision loss, he started his athletic career as an elite wrestler before being recruited by USA Judo in 2010. Colorado native Moore is an American judo pioneer who has competed at a high level and medaled in several national championships. She won gold medals at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials and currently serves as the assistant coach to the USA Paralympic Judo Team.

To promote the inclusiveness of State Department exchange programs, ECA launched the Lives Without Limits initiative on December 3, 2013, the International Day of Persons of Disabilities. The campaign highlights the stories of persons with disabilities around the world who participated in State Department-sponsored programs, including Crockett. This Sports Envoy program supports the U.S. Department of State’s global promotion and practices around diversity.

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